Karen M. McKenzie
Reinforcement and Punishment
Social learning theory of gender development is one learning by observation, imitation and modeling through watching other behavior, attitudes and the outcomes of those behaviors, helping one to choose whether or not he or she will imitate that behavior (Bussey, & Bandura, 1999). Children attain predictive knowledge of an outcome for seeing what happens with other, firsthand experience, and what they have been told about the consequences of behaving like the opposite sex. One example is of a who girl plays football with the boys, another girl is watching from the sideline, when the girl catches the ball many people there clap and yell way to go. The girl watching wants to play and figures if she could learn to catch the ball people would clap and yell for her, as she had just observed. However, if she did not see them clapping and yelling but instead laughing because she missed the ball, this may cause her not play football. A boy wanting to do synchronized swimming but told it is for girls. Girls who want to play with army men and guns, have them taken from her because those types of toys are for boys, so her little sister does not even attempt to play with those types of toys. Over the years, boys and girls have been told what toys they could play with, how to dress, and in what sports they could participate (Brannon, 2010). Seeing their same sex participate in activities, which were once deemed for the opposite sex has brought to light that one’s sex does not make up gender.
When I was growing up once, I was getting a piggyback ride from a person who was my uncle but not biological uncle. Everyone got piggy backs, but I got a whipping for being on a male’s back, because girls do not put their legs around a male, even though other girls were getting a ride. I never did that again even if the other kids did.
Today popular culture plays a role in the reinforcement and punishment of gender development. Gender stereotypes at times come at the expensive of others through standup comedy, late night talk shows and music. Those whose behavior is not of what some call “normal” gender behavior, are laughed at, made fun of, bullied and ignored. Culture today is more tolerant of the human race and not the gender make up.
Shelby Osborne played defensive back for Jeffersonville high school in Indiana made history when she was the first girl to make a commitment to play football for Campbellsville University, in June of 2014 (Trahan, 2014). The school and the other players have accepted Shelby. This is a sign that gender roles are not so persuasive in today’s society. Reinforcement and punishment may have shaped gender behavior in the